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Part I - Canada's Draft National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention

An NGO Submission to Environment Canada's Consultation on Canada's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs):
Demonstrating Canada's Commitment to the Reduction and Elimination of POPs

Introduction

On February 17, 2004, the 50th ratification to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was received by the United Nations from France. Hence, on May 17, 2004, the Stockholm Convention will enter into force, marking a momentous moment around the world. To Canada as well as many developing countries and countries in transition, such a moment provides hope that the impacts of POPs will be eliminated and the vulnerable communities of society such as the aboriginal communities, children, women and workers will be protected from exposure to POPs. Within two years, Parties to the Convention will be required to submit their National Implementation Plan (NIP) to outline how it will achieve the elimination of POPs.

Canada is well positioned to demonstrate its leadership at the international level once again through its NIP. Since the Fall 2003, Canada's NIP process has encouraged participation by stakeholders in many aspects of the NIP discussions, an approach that has proven to be effective throughout the negotiations of the Stockholm Convention. Environment Canada's current approach promotes transparency and access to information by all stakeholders. The multi-stakeholder approach undertaken to this point places Canada in a good position to develop and submit a comprehensive NIP that aims to achieve the obligations of the Convention and reflects the spirit of the Convention. Given that each Party must submit its NIP to the POPs Secretariat by 2006, the discussions in the upcoming months on Canada's NIP will provide some indication as to the key elements or components that will be considered for Canada's NIP. If Canada can submit a NIP that effectively demonstrates the details of its efforts on POPs, and also provide detail on how it will address possible gaps and obstacles in its efforts to achieving the obligations of the Stockholm Convention, Canada's leadership on POPs will be well established within the global community. Canada's approach can be seen as model for other Parties to follow.

The Canadian NGO community is excited to engage in these discussions as it has created a unique opportunity to reflect on Canada's domestic regime on toxic substances in general and more specifically on POPs. When Canada ratified the Stockholm Convention in May 2001, it was the first country to do so. By this ratification, it was suggested that the elements of programs and regulatory framework were in place in Canada to achieve the obligations of the Convention. Other stakeholders, such as the environmental community were pleased with the early ratification by Canada. The NIP process is an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the current programs on toxic substances including POPs in achieving its stated goals and identify the opportunities to strengthen these programs.

Canada committed significant resources to these negotiations, in part, because of the unique impact of POPs on Canada's arctic communities and environment. Canadians should expect a NIP that can be adopted as a model by other Parties of the Convention. Canada's NIP should:

  • be comprehensive in its approach;
  • demonstrate transparency in its development;
  • ensure effective public participation in all aspects of its development;
  • undertake an assessment on the effectiveness of the programs and initiatives aimed at eliminating and reducing POPs;
  • ensure an effective regulatory framework to support the programs and initiatives to ensure that the obligations and the spirit of the Stockholm Convention are reflected;
  • require the implementation and promotion of safe substitutes and non incineration technologies for POPs;
  • outline timeline for its implementation; and
  • ensure capacity and resources are available to implement all aspects of Canada's NIP.

Requirements for Canada's Process to Develop its National Implementation Plans

This section provides commentary and specific recommendations on a broad number of issues related to the development of Canada's NIP as required under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. The recommendations outlined in this section support and further the general recommendations outlined in the previous section of this report. These recommendations aim to provide Environment Canada with advice with respect to the components to be included in an effective NIP. The Canadian environmental community will continue to comment and participate in the process to develop Canada's NIP to ensure that the NIP can effectively fulfill the obligations of the Stockholm Convention within a timely manner.

The chart divides issues into general categories: process, overarching themes and concepts, and specific components for Canada's NIP.

Requirements for Canada's Process to Develop its National Implementation Plans
IssueCommentsRecommendations
Process Issues
Multi-stakeholder Consultations

We support the efforts by Environment Canada to initiate a process to develop its National Implementation Plan (NIP) as required under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. To ensure that Canada's NIP reflects the intent of the obligations required under the Stockholm Convention, the Canadian Environmental Law Association is advocating for a NIP that demonstrates flexibility and transparency in its development. The consultation document distributed for consideration will be key to laying the foundations for a successful national process for developing the NIP. Hence, it is critical that the consultation document clearly articulate that Canada's NIP is an on-going process that will include subsequent updates and revisions to reflect the progress of Canada's achievement towards the obligations of the Stockholm Convention as well as be able to address changes in obligations of the Stockholm Convention including the addition of new POPs to the Stockholm Convention.

Given the significant level of resources and leadership demonstrated by Canada throughout the international negotiations on POPs, there are several aspects of the proposed consultation process and consultation document that may require further discussion to ensure that the efforts displayed by Canada on the international scene during negotiations is effectively displayed throughout the development of the NIP process and the implementation efforts to follow.

Currently, we support the efforts of Environment Canada to seek participation from various stakeholders including provinces, industry, environment, health and the Aboriginal community through these initial consultation sessions. However, the consultation document outlines that the remaining review process for Canada's NIP will be conducted mainly through an online process. Given that each sector of society will have a role to play in Canada's efforts to meet its obligations under the Stockholm Convention, the development of the final NIPfor Canada will significantly benefit by continuing the efforts to engage stakeholders throughout the process. The online submission of comments should be complemented with a face to face meeting of stakeholders.

Face to face multi-stakeholder discussions provide an opportunity for open discussion among stakeholders on specific proposals made by Environment Canada which cannot happen so freely online. It is our view that such a proposal will limit transparency and debate on Canada's proposal for its NIP. There may be stakeholders that do not have the technical skills to participate in a meaningful way through an online consultation process but would be able to participate in a face-to-face discussion. Further, some stakeholders may be intimidated by the proposed approach which would require written comments to be prepared for consideration. Stakeholders may identify a number of common issues and components proposed in the draft NIP that may benefit from an open discussion promoted through a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting.

Recommendation 1: Environment Canada should include multi-stakeholder consultation meetings to discuss Canada's draft NIP to complement the online consultation currently proposed.
Need for program evaluation component in NIP process

Canada has played a significant role throughout the international negotiations for the Stockholm Convention. Given the extent of the impacts of POPs on the Canadian environment and to human and wildlife populations, Canada's announcement to ratify the Stockholm Convention in May 2001 was welcomed by Canadians as well as the international community. This ratification signalled Canada's commitment to take immediate action to eliminate and reduce POPs from the global environment.

Two years after this announcement, Canada is initiating its process to develop its NIP as required under the Convention. Through this NIP process, CELA recognizes the opportunity for Canada to showcase its national programs on toxic substances specifically on POPs. In our view, Canada's NIP should present a plan that demonstrates the effectiveness of its legislation in addressing POPs and push for innovation in technology and practices that do not lead to the use, production, manufacturing and release of POPs or other toxic substances into the Canadian environment.

A NIPthat provides an inventory of programs and initiative does very little to achieve the obligations of the Stockholm Convention. There are many regulatory and non regulatory programs currently being implemented in Canada focused on POPs and other toxic substances. However, Canadians currently do not have a clear understanding of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives.

Through the NIP process, there must be clear recognition that gaps in Canada's approach to POPs may exist. NIPscannot just rely on existing laws, policies and programs. There are indications that current federal programs and policies may not be adequate to fully address the obligations of the Stockholm Convention. For example, the criteria for persistence in water as required through the Toxic Substances Management Plan is not consistent with the criteria for persistence in water outlined in the Stockholm Convention. The requirements for persistence criteria under the Bioaccumulation and Persistence Regulation (P and B Regulation) under CEPA 1999 is:

In water, its half-life is equal or greater than 182 days;

In sediment, its half-life is equal or greater than 365 days; or

In soil, its half-life is equal or greater than 182 days.

The screening criteria for persistence in the Stockholm Convention is:

In Water, its half-life is greater than two months, or

In sediment, its half-life is greater than 6 month, or

In soil, its half-life is greater than 6 months.

The discrepancy between the Stockholm Convention and the P and B Regulation with respect to persistence in water creates a gap for assessing and initiating action on potential POPs found in commerce in Canada. Another gap in CEPA for effectively identifying POPs is found in the DSLcategorization process. Currently, the DSL process does not target POPsdirectly since the categorization process requires that substances to be identified for further screening must meet all of the following criteria for persistence or bioaccumulation and inherent toxicity. The P and B criteria are those outlined in the P and B Regulation and the TSMP policy.

The current NIP process is an ideal opportunity to assess how effective the current programs are in assessing and managing toxic substances such as POPs. It is also a good opportunity to identify and address the gaps that exist in our national toxic regime. The NIP process has the potential to guide decision makers on where new resources are required to address POPs in Canada. This type of opportunity should not be lost, given that Canadians have an opportunity to address some of these matters with the review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 fast approaching in 2005.

If an evaluation or an assessment of the effectiveness of programs and initiatives is undertaken, the report from this exercise could contribute significantly to the development of Canada's NIP. Canada's NIP can truly present programs and initiatives that would result in the elimination of POPs.

The NIPprocess should be considered an evolving process which would mean that the actual NIP could be reviewed and revised on a regular basis to reflect the changes in the domestic regime. The evaluation process along with the NIP create useful tools to determine if Canada is meeting its obligations under the Stockholm Convention. Further, these documents will prove to be important sources of information when discussions focused on Effective Evaluation (Article 16) are undertaken.

Recommendation 2: An assessment on the effectiveness of current Canadian programs and initiatives focused on POPsshould be undertaken as part of the process for developing Canada's NIP. The results of this assessment can be published in a separate report but should identify the key components to be included in Canada's NIP.

Recommendation 3: Canada's NIP should identify and implement those programs and initiatives that need to be strengthened to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under the Stockholm Convention within 5-years of the Convention Entry into Force.

Advisory CommitteeFurther, the process of developing Canada's NIP would significantly benefit from the establishment of a multi-stakeholder advisory committee. This advisory committee would be responsible in addressing on-going and emerging issues emanating from the NIP and its implementation. The members of such an advisory group can communicate with its constituency on these matters. We recognize that the HAPs Task Force exists to address POPs related issues but this Task Force is given responsibility on a wide range of matters regarding transboundary air issues. The advisory committee would be focused on issues related specifically to the Stockholm Convention. The core team established by Environment Canada provides a good starting point for an advisory committee as well as the current HAPs Task Force. In support of such an advisory committee, Environment Canada may want to consider the existence of a third party review mechanism used in other international agreements. For example, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement has a number of mechanisms that require an evaluation of progress and advice by advisory bodies.Recommendation 4: Establish a multi-stakeholder advisory committee to ensure the completion of the National Implementation Plan and its implementation.
Need for enhanced capacity and resources

The effectiveness of Canada's NIP will not be fully realized if the capacity and resources are not available to Environment Canada and other government departments to undertake the efforts necessary to address POPs in Canada.

In the past decade significant budget cuts have been made to the Environment Canada bringing into question the extent of the impacts to the environment and human health from such cuts. Further, budget cuts to programs have resulted in more reliance on voluntary programs to address toxic substances that have not demonstrated sufficient evidence that such efforts are an effective approach for managing toxic substances in Canada.

Canada must recognize these trends as it begins its discussions on developing Canada's NIP. The process of developing, implementing and reviewing the NIP process, plus ensuring that existing and new chemical assessment programs adequately capture new POPs, will require new and dedicated staffing. There must be a policy commitment to adequately resource for POPs-related efforts in Canada.

Recommendation 5: Canada must ensure that capacity and resources are available to Environment Canada and other government departments that will be responsible for implementing the obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 6: A study should be undertaken to assess the need for additional resources.

Themes and Principles for Canada's NIP
Need to implement a precautionary approach to NIP

Canada's efforts to develop its NIP should embrace a precautionary approach to ensure that its efforts are effectively meeting the obligations of the Stockholm Convention. By embracing a precautionary approach within Canada's NIP, the role of key concepts supported through CEPA, such as pollution prevention plans and virtual elimination, increase in importance in the NIP. By taking a precautionary approach, the opportunity to promote innovation by industry for clean production and safe alternative would increase. For example, a precautionary approach would dictate that alternative industrial processes be found in the manufacturing of the dozen or so pesticide active ingredients known to contain POPsby-products. Since Canada does not currently manufacture any of the pesticides listed in the Stockholm Convention, careful consideration should be given to other pesticides that have POPstraits. Canada must ensure that pesticides in use in Canada through export or import must not be contaminated by POPs.

In the efforts to evaluate existing POPs-related programming (as described above) in Canada, consideration should be made on whether the programs are consistent with a precautionary approach, i.e., whether pollution prevention and elimination at source are applied. For example, the Hazardous Waste Regulations which are currently being reviewed could be redesigned to shift the focus on elimination rather than minimization of POPs waste, and to focus on in-situ destruction of POPs and minimization of POPstransportation, especially avoiding high-hazard transportation methods such as tankers.

Recommendation 7: The precautionary approach should be an underlying theme throughout the development of the NIP. The NIP should give priority to and highlight those programs and initiatives that implement the precautionary approach to POPs.
Promote Safe Alternatives

Canada's NIP should emphasize those initiatives and programs that promote the elimination of POPsthrough the development and use of safe alternatives. Over the past few years, there has been a number of legislative processes to further several key concepts found in CEPA 1999. These include the precautionary principle, the development of virtual elimination plans and pollution prevention plans. The development of Canada's NIP can further these concepts by promoting those programs and initiatives that give priority to seeking safe alternatives to POPs. In particular, for POPssubstances such as dioxins and furans, PCBs and hexachlorobenzene, which are produced as by products from industrial processes, the NIP should identify and promote those processes that do not result in the production of POPs as well as other toxic substances, including the use of non-incineration destruction technology.

Despite the current lack of focus on discussion by the Expert Group developing guidelines for Best Available Techniques/Best Environmental Practices on safe alternatives, there is support of safe articles in the Convention. In Article 5 (c), the Stockholm Convention requires to "promote development and, where it deems appropriate, require the use of substitute or modified materials, products and processes to prevent the formation and release of chemicals in Annex C:" Canada should integrate a comprehensive discussion on safe alternatives to POPs to drive innovation within affected industry. This focus will be essential in the development of an Action Plan for unintentional by-products.

Canada efforts in developing its Action Plan on unintentionally produced POPs should include the development of a list that consist of the following:

  • All sources of Annex C emissions by sector in Canada;
  • Substitute material and processes for each use/process which leads to POPs emissions; and
  • Priority categories for substitution at source.

Recommendation 8: Canada's NIP should promote those programs and initiatives that promote safe alternatives to POPs.

Recommendation 9: Canada should develop a list that consist of the following information:

  • All sources of Annex C emissions by sector in Canada;
  • Substitute material and processes for each use/process which leads to POPs emissions; and
  • Priority categories for substitution at source.
Public Participation

Throughout the international negotiations, Canada demonstrated the important role and contribution made by stakeholders such as environment, Aboriginal communities and industry to these negotiation. The Canadian government decision to include participation by stakeholders as members of the Canadian delegation at all the negotiating sessions provided evidence that the transparency issue in developing Canadian positions was a priority for Canada. This level of involvement by non-governmental representatives was seen as unique by the global community. CELA, who has participated as a member of the Canadian delegation at several of the international negotiations on POPs, has found this level of public participation to be very effective in communicating positions and promoting transparency in the decision making process.

The role of the public in the various programs and initiatives expected to achieve the obligations of the Convention will also need to be reviewed to ensure effective participation in these efforts. The future of several federal consultation processes is questionable. For example, the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) Working Group which has established an effective consultation process for almost 10 years focusing on how to improve the NPRI program (including its reporting requirements) has recently announced an abbreviated schedule for 2004 and recently did not report any changes to the NPRI reporting requirements for 2003.

Another example is the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) efforts to develop Canada wide Standard (CWS) setting for specific chemicals such as dioxins and furans. The CCMEschedule for the upcoming year is uncertain despite the fact that efforts to implement standards for key sources of dioxins and furans are on-going. No new chemicals including POPs have been added for establishing Canada wide standards.

The gaps in these federal efforts significantly reduce the role of the public in developing effective programs on toxic substances and, at the same time, threatens Canada's ability to achieve its obligations under the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 10: Public participation from all sectors affected by POPs should be an essential component in all phases of the NIP process to promote transparency and access to information. This includes enhancing the role of the public in consultations to develop and implement programs that have a focus on POPs (including NPRI and CCMECWS).
Awareness Raising

The proposed NIP process provides a unique opportunity for Canada to demonstrate its commitment to increasing awareness. Canada should be commended for its leadership role in raising awareness in developing countries and countries in economic transition over the past five years through its support of Canada's POPs Fund.

Since the effects of POPs can be seen across Canada, the same level of commitment to communicate on POPs and related issues should also be a requirement for Canada's NIP. Canada should seek to highlight programs and initiatives that focus on community efforts that promote increasing awareness on the impacts of POPs, the obligations of the Stockholm Convention and efforts that lead to the elimination of POPs.

The non-governmental organizations in Canada have a long history in participating in multi-stakeholder consultations focused on addressing and managing toxic substances in Canada. Some NGOs have developed programs specifically focused on management of toxic substances. Through these programs NGOs possess a level of expertise that can be useful to developing countries and countries in economic transition that are dealing with different aspects of the Stockholm Convention. For example, Canadian NGOs have significant knowledge in the development of pollutant inventories, pollution prevention strategies, policy and legislative development and promoting public participation that is relevant to POPs and the Stockholm Convention. The NIP process aims to recognize these efforts. Through the availability of support from Canada's POPs Fund, Canada should identify and promote opportunities where this level of expertise can be used to assist developing countries and countries in economic transition in meeting specific obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 11: Canada should increase efforts that raise awareness on POPs, the obligations of the Stockholm Convention and the efforts that lead to the elimination of POPs. Specifically, increased efforts should be made to vulnerable communities affected by POPssuch as children, workers, women, and Aboriginal communities.

Recommendation 12: Through the Canada's POPs Fund, Canada should identify and promote opportunities where the Canadian NGOsexpertise can be used to assist developing countries and countries in economic transition in meeting specific obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Need for timelines and POPs regulation

Canada's NIP can include a number of programs and initiatives that have the potential for achieving the obligations of the Stockholm Convention. However, the effectiveness of these programs can be better projected if the NIPincludes specific timelines for achieving the goals, improving programs and meeting any identified gaps. Including timelines will provide a basis for identifying and addressing the challenges of meeting the program goals and developing a contingency plan to address these challenges. The contingency plans may include the development of regulation that address POPs efforts that are not meeting the obligations of the Convention in a timely manner.

Timelines are essential components of a NIP. By including timelines in the NIP, stakeholders such as affected industry and the public are alerted to the urgency of the POPsproblems. Further, specific timelines provide opportunities to review and develop contingency plans to address obstacles that may emerge.

To affected industries, the presence of timelines may promote innovations that do not use, produce, generate or release POPs. Canada must be vigilant about making real progress on the Convention obligations to ensure that the environment and human populations are protected from POPs.

The public can use such timelines to establish accountability by government and industry. Currently, the consultation document presents a menu of programs, policies and initiatives that have or may be able to address POPs. To ensure that these programs and initiatives are successful in meeting the Convention's obligations, a regulation should be developed that recognizes the various programs (regulatory and non regulatory tools available) in place to address POPs, Canada's international obligations on these matters and the urgency of time for taking action.

Recommendation 13: Canada should develop a regulation specific to the obligations of the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

Among other things, this regulation should aim to articulate how additional POPs will be identified and assessed in Canada, establish a process for addressing gaps in the Canadian regime on POPs, articulate Canada's international obligations on these matters and the urgency of time for action on POPs. This regulations should include timelines for achieving the goals of the Convention.

Recommendation 14: Canada should aim to eliminate POPs as required under the Stockholm Convention within 10 years.

Components for Canada's NIP
NIPGuidelines by World Bank and UNEPAs part of the Stockholm Convention under Article 7, each Party is required to develop a National Implementation Plan to provide details on how the Party intends to meet its obligations under the Convention. The NIP is an important obligation for each Party as it represents a significant report that outlines the regulatory tools and mechanisms that each country will use to meet its obligations under the Convention. It is critical that this report include all components outlined in the guideline document prepared by UNEP and World Bank to begin. This document must be iterative in form to demonstrate the progress made by a Party to meet its obligation and/or to accommodate the addition of obligations (i.e., addition of new POPs) to the Convention after it enters into force. Furthermore such a document will demonstrate openness and transparency in a Party's efforts towards the Convention. An effective NIP can be a useful and powerful tool in tracking the level of progress made towards the Convention obligations, including the identification of gaps in the Plan that may result in the failure to reduce or eliminate POPs.Recommendation 15: Canada's NIP should, at a minimum, include the components identified by the guidelines on developing NIPs as prepared by UNEP and the World Bank.
Outlining the decision making process for implementing POPsactivitiesTo ensure that Canadians and the international community have a comprehensive understanding of Canada's efforts on POPs, a key element for Canada's NIP is the need to include a flow chart to demonstrate the decision making process used in Canada on POPs as well as the various government departments or agencies responsible for taking the lead in the implementation efforts. There were many government departments involved throughout the international negotiations including: Health Canada, Justice, International and Foreign Affairs, Indian and Northern Affairs, Industry Canada, and others. The programs and initiatives expected to meet Canada's obligations under the Stockholm Convention will require coordination with various government agencies (e.g., Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment), different levels of government (e.g, provinces and municipalities) and stakeholders. Canada's NIP should include a substantial description on the decision making process by government departments and the roles that the various stakeholders have in meeting the obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 16: Provide a clear chart demonstrating the government departments' role in the decision making process related to the management of POPs in Canada. This chart should be included in Canada's National Implementation Plan.

Recommendation 17: The NIP should include a commentary on the roles of stakeholders in implementing the obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Outline Process for considering additional POPs for the Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention outlines a process to nominate POPs for addition to the Stockholm Convention. This requirement will be significant to the global community if it is to effectively protect human health and environment from the impacts of POPs.

According to Environment Canada, there are several feeders identified in CEPA 1999 alone that would result in effective management of toxic substances. The relevant sections in CEPA that could identify substances of concern include:

* Section 73 for the categorization of the DSL list (23000 substances are to be categorized for persistence, or bioaccumulation and inherent toxicity to non-human organism or humans.

* Section 70 from industry information on substances

* emerging science;

* international efforts to assess and collect data on substances;

* section 81-82 on new substances notification;

* section 76 from public nomination of substances; and

* Section 75 in which the decisions of other jurisdictions (international and provincial) are considered on prohibiting or severely restricting substances.

Similarly, the Pest Control Products Act requires that all active ingredients for pesticides undergo re-evaluation of their safety to human health and the environment, and include a comparison of how their persistence, toxicity and capacity to bioaccumulate compare to TSMP criteria.

Canada should articulate how it plans to use the information gathered through its domestic processes to nominate POPs for further consideration by the global community under the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 18: Canada's NIP should outline how the information gathered from its domestic processes ( including the Pest Control Product Act and CEPA 1999) will be used to nominate POPs for consideration by the global community under the Stockholm Convention.
POPsInventories

The Stockholm Convention requires that inventories of POPs be established and maintained by the Parties. Currently, there are several types of database for pollution that exist in Canada which are mandatory or voluntary in scope. However, it is our view that given the international commitments of the Convention, Canada's National Pollutants Release Inventory (NPRI) is well developed to provide the database to store POPs data. There are no other federal database in place that have the legislative requirements for reporting pollutant releases as required through the NPRI. Since the pollution data from NPRI is publicly accessible to the public through Environment Canada's GreenLane web site, there is a trend towards improved reporting by industry facilities.

Modifications to NPRI are made periodically. A NPRI Working Group that includes participation from multi-stakeholders was established in 1994 by Environment Canada to discuss and make proposals for changes to the NPRI. As a result of these efforts, the NPRI has been modified to include new pollutants to the inventory and revised reporting requirements to reflect the impacts of substances to human and environmental health. In 2002, the NPRI Working Group identified that PCBs would be a focus of discussion for the Working Group in 2003.

The discussions by the Working Group to determine how to include report on PCBsin NPRI reporting is necessary given that the current inventories on PCBs are often difficult to access and obtain from federal and provincial governments. When copies of these databases are provided by appropriate government departments, they are often difficult to read with respect to determining trends. The accessibility to the NPRI data through Environment Canada's Green Lane would facilitate a better understanding of PCBs in Canada.

To date, these discussions have not progressed. As noted previously the efforts of the NPRI Working Group has been curtailed for 2004. In 2003 no new reporting requirements to the NPRI were introduced despite discussions by the Working Group in 2002 to focus on a number of issues related to the modification of the NPRI reporting. The NGOrepresentatives to the NPRI Working Group have expressed their disappointment regarding these recent developments.

Recommendation 19: The National Pollutants Release Inventory should be modified to include reporting data on all POPs as required under the Stockholm Convention.

Recommendation 20: The NPRI Working Group should initiate discussions immediately on how to include PCBs in the reporting requirements of NPRI.

Monitoring ProgramsAn important component of Canada's NIP is the biomonitoring programs focused on toxic substances. Canada's biomonitoring programming has provided key data to demonstrate the extent of POPsexposure in Canada. The work of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Aboriginal community to determine the levels of toxic substances in the northern communities has proven to be a critical piece in Canada's action on POPs. These efforts are integral components in Canada's efforts to ensure that obligations required by the Convention are met. To ensure that Canada, as well as the global community have an effective way of reviewing the action and effects of POPs on the environment and human health, the government must commit sufficient resources to ensure that the effectiveness of this work continues and expands.Recommendation 21: Canada's NIP should emphasize the role of monitoring programs in Canada on toxic substances including POPs. Monitoring efforts should be complemented with effective communication strategies and implementation efforts that promote the elimination of POPs.
Reporting on Canada's efforts to provide financial and technical assistance

To ensure the successful negotiations of the Stockholm Convention, it was recognized that financial and technical assistance to developing countries and countries in economic transition was needed. Canada committed $20 million under the Canada's POPs Fund for this purpose. The NGO community was very supportive of this commitment with very high expectations that such assistance would result in developing countries and countries in economic transition being able to ratify the Convention in a timely manner. To date, such assistance has been successful and it is critical that Canada continues to commit additional funds and resources to these countries to ensure continued success in their efforts to eliminate POPs.

However, Canada should ensure that such assistance is conditional on meeting criteria for actions that reflect the spirit of the Convention, i.e. elimination of POPs at source. Support should be preferentially given to initiatives that promote PCB non-incineration destruction technology, use of safe alternatives or support sustainable agricultural systems through the reduction of reliance on chemical pesticides in general, and specifically eliminating the use of POPs and PIC-listed pesticides. On the other hand, assistance to efforts that promote activities and technologies that create POPs should be withdrawn.

The efforts undertaken by these countries may be of significant interest to Canada as it also begins its efforts to develop its NIP. There may be opportunities for Canada to learn from the experiences of other countries through this process but also an opportunity for Canada to identify opportunities that result in transferring knowledge and experience on related POPs issues to these countries. Therefore, it would be useful to receive a report in the form of an annual report highlighting the efforts of countries receiving support through the Canada's POPs Fund. Such a report may be included in Canada's NIP.

Recommendation 22: Canada should report on efforts undertaken by developing countries and countries in economic transition receiving support through Canada's POPsFund.
Listing of POPs on CEPA Schedule 1 and Virtual Elimination List

The consultation document does not provide a framework to indicate whether POPs listed under the Stockholm Convention are required to undergo any level of assessment as outlined under CEPA. Several of the POPs, including dioxins and furans, PCBs, and hexachlorobenzene will be addressed under CEPA. Currently, CEPA Schedule 1 for Toxics Substances List includes POPs such as PCBs, dioxins and furans, mirex and hexachlorobenzene, all of which are considered toxic under CEPA. There are a number of programs in place that address these POPs. However, it is uncertain how effective these efforts have been to eliminate these POPs.

In our view, given the extensive international discussions on the hazardous properties of POPs through the Stockholm Convention on POPs, all 12 POPslisted under the Convention should automatically be included on CEPA Schedule 1 and the Virtual Elimination List (S. 77(2) and (4)). More specifically, inclusion on the Virtual Elimination List may signal an urgency to eliminate these substances from the Canadian Environment. The inclusion of POPs on Schedule 1 and Virtual Elimination list will be important for any new POPs to be added to the Stockholm Convention in the future. Therefore management options, if not already underway, would proceed without significant delays. No further assessment should be necessary provided the scientific evidence and debate undertaken during the international negotiations on the Stockholm Convention.

Currently, only one substance, which is not one of the 12 POPs, is being proposed for the Virtual Elimination List. Those substances added to the Virtual Elimination List will be required to meet a level of quantification determined by the Minister. Addition on this list may benefit the discussions currently underway to develop guidelines for Best Available Technique and Best Environmental Practices that will be used to address POPs that are by-products of industrial processes.

Recommendation 23: All POPs should be added to CEPA Schedule 1 and the Virtual Elimination List.
Reporting

The need to report on progress is a critical component in measuring the effectiveness of the programs and initiatives implemented to achieve the obligations of the Convention. While the Stockholm Convention does not outline specific timelines for reporting, Canada should implement a reporting requirement in its NIP to ensure that Canada has the ability to monitor its progress on the Stockholm Convention. Reporting on Canada's efforts on POPsshould be implemented no longer than two years after the NIP has been finalized and implemented with annual reports on progress thereafter.

The guidelines for a reporting mechanism will be a significant discussion at the First Conference of the Parties. However, in anticipation of this discussion, there are several components that will be essential in the reporting mechanism that will allow some comparison and measures to be undertaken towards the obligations of the Stockholm Convention. The specific components are:

  • establish the baseline for reporting for Canada as 2001, the year the Stockholm Convention was signed. Annual reports will be required upon two years of the NIP being finalized. Choosing this baseline will demonstrate the continuing progress that Canada is making towards its Convention obligations.
  • produce printed reports to promote transparency.
  • highlight the most effective tools, programs and techniques responsible for eliminations or reductions (including pollution prevention strategies, regulations focused on specific POPs, use of safe alternatives).
  • report on biomonitoring efforts on POPs.
  • review POPs data obtained from the inventories for POPs, provide levels of production, use and release of POPs.
  • highlight areas/programs/sectors that resulted in largest reductions of POPs.
  • highlight information on effects of current legislation or programs that may be responsible for reduction or increase in POPs.
  • review progress in all program areas which have the capacity to identify new POPs (see list of programs above).

Recommendation 24: Reporting on progress under the Stockholm Convention should begin 2 years after Canada's NIP is finalized and implemented, while annual reports will be required thereafter.

Recommendation 25: Reporting is an essential component to Canada's NIP. The components listed in the comments section should be included in reporting Canada's progress on meeting the obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Action Plans for Unintentionally Produced POPs

Action Plans are a significant component in Canada's NIP. In the UNEP/World Bank guidelines for NIPs, action plans will be required for various aspects of the NIP component to ensure coordination, accountability and transparency in the process. Efforts to eliminate and reduce POPs that are created as by-products of processes require unique attention. However, in our view, the main proponents of an action plan do not deviate significantly from the format of a NIP but also provide additional information on how specific POPs are to be eliminated. Specific focus will be on the role of technology and practices that eliminate POPs. The following components are key for an Action Plan:

  • Apply the precautionary approach to demonstrate that the priority for an action plan is elimination of unintentionally produced POPs.
  • Include a multi-stakeholder component to review and comment on the Plan.
  • Outline roles and responsibility for government and stakeholders in achieving the Action Plan.
  • Provide details of specific programs and initiatives that aim to address specific POPs.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of programs and initiatives and identify gaps.
  • Specify timelines for achieving progress to eliminate POPs.
  • Promote safe alternatives and innovation towards clean technology. Require affected sectors to implement practices and technologies that use safe alternatives to POPs and do not result in the release or production of POPs or other toxic substances in their process.
  • Implement and promote destruction technologies for POPsstockpiles that result in complete combustion of POPs and do not release other toxic substances such as heavy metals.
  • Maintain an inventory of export and import of hazardous waste containing POPs into or within Canada. Specify the country or the Canadian jurisdiction that is exporting their hazardous waste to Canada and in what amounts.
  • Develop a regulatory back stop that outlines how affected industry or operation are held responsible for not meeting the goals of the Action Plan.
  • Establish a baseline for reporting on achievement of the Action Plan.
  • Identify financial and technical assistance available to affected industry and communities.
  • develop a regulation focused on the elimination of POPs that are unintentionally produced by-products
  • Require a report for progress.
  • Outline Canada's effort that "endeavor to identify other articles containing PCBs and manage them in accordance with the Convention's measures on reducing and eliminating releases form stockpiles and wastes."
Recommendation 26: An action plan will require the inclusion of key components listed in the comments section.
Establishing a Baseline

Establishing a baseline year for efforts focused on meeting the obligations of the Stockholm Convention is essential. The baseline year will be used in Canada's efforts to assess and report on progress on eliminating and reducing POPs as required under the Convention.

A baseline of 2001, the year Canada ratified the Stockholm Convention and the year the Convention was signed by over 100 countries, should be considered as the baseline year for Canada's NIP.

Recommendation 27: A baseline year of 2001 should be considered for Canada's NIP.
Highlighting Provinces and Territories Activities on POPsSince all levels of government will have a role in meeting the obligations set out in the Stockholm Convention, it is important for Canada's NIP to explain how the various activities and programs that are being implemented by the provincial and territorial programs and initiatives will meet the obligations of the Convention. Provinces and territories may have specific legislation or programs in place that effectively results in the elimination of POPs. These efforts should be highlighted in Canada's NIP. These efforts can be reviewed and adopted by other jurisdictions.Recommendation 28: The NIP should articulate how programs and initiatives in place in the provinces and territories meet the obligations of the Stockholm Convention.

Summary

The unique threats of POPs to the Canadian arctic environment, the Aboriginal communities, and its population provides the reason for emphasizing the importance of the process undertaken by Environment Canada to develop its NIP under the Stockholm Convention. The 28 recommendations outlined in this submission aim to advise Environment Canada on the elements and components required to ensure that Canada develops a comprehensive NIP that effectively achieves the obligations of the Stockholm Convention and reflects the spirit of the Convention. Canada has an opportunity to continue its leadership in these global endeavours on POPsthrough its NIP. Canada's NIP must aim to address the elimination of the twelve POPs currently targeted under the Stockholm Convention as well as anticipate how future POPs can be effectively identified and addressed in Canada.

The next twelve months will be critical to Canada's efforts on developing its NIP. The introduction section of this submission highlighted a number of recommendations that will need careful consideration by Environment Canada in its effort to develop an effective NIP. Canada should:

  • Be comprehensive in its approach;
  • demonstrate transparency in its development;
  • ensure effective public participation in all aspects of its development;
  • undertake an assessment on the effectiveness of the programs and initiatives aimed at eliminating and reducing POPs;
  • ensure an effective regulatory framework to support the programs and initiatives to ensure that the obligations and the spirit of the Stockholm Convention are reflected;
  • require the implementation and promotion of safe substitutes and non incineration technologies for POPs;
  • outline timeline for its implementation; and
  • ensure capacity and resources are available to implement all aspects of Canada's NIP.

The environmental community in Canada looks forward to furthering its participation in this process.

 

Canadian Public Health Association

April 6, 2004

Ms. Brenda Koekkoek Senior Policy Advisor
Hazardous Air Pollutants Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd. Gatineau, Quebec
KlA OH3

Dear Ms. Koekkoek:

On behalf of the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), I am pleased to attach comments on Canada's initiative with respect to the Stockholm convention as provided by CPHA's representative on this issue, Dr. Tim Lambert.

We are appreciative of the process established by Environment Canada which provided the opportunity to comment on the convention. Public processes are valuable to ensuring the implementation of healthy public policy.

The Canadian Public Health Association is a national, independent, not-for-profit, voluntary association representing public health in Canada with links to the international public health community. CPHA's members believe in universal and equitable access to the basic conditions which are necessary to achieve health for all Canadians.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if we can be of any other assistance.

Janet MacLachlanr
Associate Chief Executive Officer

cc: Dr. Christina Mills, President, CPHA
Dr. Elinor Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, CPHA
Mr. Ron de Burger, CPHA Board of Directors
Dr. Tim Lambert, CPHA member

Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) Comments on the Stockholm Convention

Introduction

Thank you very much for providing the CPHA an opportunity to comment on Canada's initiative with respect to the Stockholm convention. The initiative is extremely important for the health of Canadian's and in particular, people in Canada's north.

Comments

The CPHA has several recommendations for Canada in maintaining a global leadership role in the Stockholm convention.

Recommendation 1: The CPHA recommends that an ethical grounding is developed to guide Canada's Stockhom Initiatives.

The CPHA recommends that Canada specifically ground its initiative in public health ethics. There are two ethical principles which relate to actions and consultation. Following from the principle of prevention and the precautionary principle, Canada should clearly articulate that we have a "duty" to eliminate the production and release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This ethical obligation stems from the duty to prevent harm to people and the environment. Following from a principle of fostering autonomy, CPHA recommends grounding the commitment for consultation with all stakeholders in Canada and internationally, i.e., shared decision-making and fostering the ability for stakeholders to participate in the process of eliminating and releasing POPs. A paper that briefly outlines an approach to consider is Lambert et. al. Ethical perspectives for public and environmental health. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003 volume 111, 133-137. This paper grounds the precautionary principle in a duty-based ethics, and illustrates the role of the public and stakeholders in consultation. The paper also illustrates the need for the precautionary principle with respect to POPs.

Recommendation 2: The CPHA recommends that Canada establish itself as a leader in consultation in meeting all aspects of the convention.

Canada was the first county to ratify the Stockholm convention, and should maintain this leadership. The CPHA recommends that Canada establish itself as a leader in consultation, by establishing open and transparent consultation and decision-making processes within in Canada. Also, CPHA recommends Canada foster open and transparent consultation processes in other signatory countries. The CPHA believes this will help all countries to develop sound initiatives to deal with POPs and address the problem from a global perspective. The current Canada process of holding multi-stakeholder meetings is commendable. The CPHAencourages Environment Canada to maintain this process in the future. Face to face meetings should occur in Canada prior to submission of the implementation plan. This will show leadership and a concrete example for other countries to follow, in developing national implementation within their own countries.

Canada should sponsor health and environment NGO delegates to participate in international meetings to demonstrate a commitment to open and transparent process and inclusion of public stakeholders in the process. This will encourage other countries to develop open and transparent processes as well.

Recommendation 3: The CPHA recommends that Canada develop and identify initiatives that are specific to the Stockholm convention.

The CPHA recommends that Canada have a set of specific initiatives to ground the national implementation plan (NIP). For unintentional POPs, it appears that the NIP is based largely on co-benefits from other processes underway in Canada, for example, the CWS for dioxins. While these other processes may result in reductions of POPs, the approach raises some concerns. The CPHA is concerned that the Stockholm convention will not be a primary impetus for reductions for these POPs and thus decisions may be reached in these other processes, which reflect the different goals of stakeholders in these processes, without considering the impact on Canada's approach to the Stockholm Convention. Alternatively, will Canada's role as a leader in the Stockholm convention drive these other processes? Environment Canada staff working specifically on the Stockholm convention, and NGOsrepresenting the interests of the Stockholm convention should be included in the decision-making on co-benefit initiatives to ensure that the Stockholm convention implementation plan is not compromised in other processes. In making this point, the CPHA is hoping to ensure that Canada positions itself as a leader in the Stockholm convention and that we demonstrate specific actions that other countries can follow.

The CPHA recommends that Canada should collect all initiatives identified in the NIPunder two basic headings: specific new initiatives and co-benefit initiatives. With respect to co-benefits initiatives, it should be clearly articulated how these processes have now considered the Stockholm convention. The Stockholm convention should be the central home of all co-benefit initiatives, or at least a reporting house, to ensure that they meet the commitments of the Stockholm convention.

Secondly, the CPHA discourages Canada from considering reductions for a specific POP that all ready achieves the goals of the convention, as part of the NIP. The CPHArecommends that Canada strive to go beyond these achievements. The NIP can clearly identify that the POP meets the achievement from processes all ready undertaken, but it should then identify and develop specific initiatives to obtain further reductions. This approach will help position Canada as a leader in the Stockholm convention.

Recommendation 4: The CPHA recommends Canada to work with other countries on the phase out of DDT for vector control.

The Stockholm convention says that countries can continue to use DDT for vector control until safe alternatives are available. Canada can show leadership in this area by sponsoring or conducting research into safer means of vector control. There are examples all ready in existence. For example, see the article below:

By Richard Black

BBC science correspondent, Chandigarh

MosquitoeLast Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 13:45 GMT

Fish are being used to control malaria in India with remarkable success, according to researchers from the Indian Council for Medical Research.

The mosquitoes which transmit malaria have virtually been eradicated from some areas.Scientists presented the results of several pilot projects at the Indian Science Congress in Chandigarh. Malaria control takes up a substantial slice of India's health budget, largely through buying insecticides. The theory is simple: find fish which like eating mosquito larvae and put them in ponds, rivers and wells where mosquitoes lay their eggs. The eggs hatch, and the fish eat the larvae.

Dr VP Sharma, a former director of India's Malaria Research Institute who now works with the Council for Medical Research, told the meeting that pilot projects in four states have met with remarkable success. Introducing fish like guppies, he said, was one of the main reasons why the number of malaria cases each year in India was falling.

"They were more than two million," he said. "Now, actually, they have gone down to 1.8 million. The World Bank has a programme in 100 districts using the fish and it will take another five years before the real impact would be known."

Dr Sharma told the meeting that fish had virtually eliminated malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes from some districts, though he cautioned that the strategy did not work everywhere.

Using fish in this way used to be a standard approach to malaria control, but when insecticides like DDT were introduced during the last century with apparently magical success, it fell into disuse.

Now mosquitoes have become resistant to many of these chemicals and fish are back on the menu. The other attraction is cost. Supplying ponds with guppies is a cheap alternative to buying insecticides.

Recommendation 5: The CPHA recommends that under the Stockholm convention that Canada place all POPs on CEPA's schedule 1 and virtual elimination list and adopt strict regulations to restrict the import of products that use POPs in the manufacture process.

First, Canada should place all POPs on the CEPA Schedule 1 and virtual elimination list. Second, until such time as POPs are no longer used in any manner they still may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Development of strict regulations that prohibit the import of any products that employ POPs at any stage of the manufacture

process will lead to the eventual phase out of POPs. If Canada adopts such a regulation, this will provide the impetus for other countries to follow and develop technologies that do not use or create POPs.

Recommendation 6: The CPHA recommends that Environment Canada develop a specific team for early identification of new emerging POPs as part of the T1IP./p>

Canada, and in particular the northern Canada, has been contaminated by global atmospheric processes. These processes will continue into the future. Therefore Canada needs to establish early detection systems for potential new POPs. Canada is uniquely positioned therefore to detect emerging POPs in the actual environment, i.e., monitoring for new potential chemicals migrating to Canada. Canada should also establish collaborative research with other Stockholm countries to identify any potential POPs prior to their use in production and eventual release into the environment.

Recommendation 7: The CPHA recommends that Canada adopt stricter timelines than the Stockholm convention to position itself as the first country to phase out the generation and release of POPs.

Canada is in a unique situation because POPs contaminate Canada's environment and cause health impacts to Canadians. In order for Canada to deal with this problem, we need other countries to aggressively address the production and release of POPs. Therefore Canada should position itself as the first country to effectively eliminate POPs; phase out use of POP containing equipement, POPs used in manufacturing and POP releases. This will position Canada in a place to call for the elimination of POPs in other countries. Canada should set a target date of January 1, 2015 for completion of the task.

Recommendation 8: The CPHA recommends that Canada invest in alternative technologies that do not lead to releases of chemicals to the environment to destroy stockpiles of POPs.

In order for the global stockpiles of POPs to be destroyed, there needs to be development of technology. At this time, incineration is widely used to destroy toxic chemicals. Incineration leads to the release of other toxic chemicals perhaps many which are currently not identifiable. Furthermore, for example in Alberta, the Swan Hills incinerator has resulted in wide spread contamination of the environment with PCBs and dioxins. The CPHArecommends that Environment Canada encourage investment in non incineration technologies for the destruction of POPs. There are all ready some examples in Canada, such as hydrogen reduction technologies. If Canada can develop these technologies, then Canada will be positioned to destroy the tons and tons chemical stockpiles of POPsaround the world.

 

Cree Regional Authority

February 20, 2004

Ms. Brenda Koekkoek,
Senior Policy Advisor
Hazardous Air Pollutants
Environment Canada
351 Boulevard St. Joseph
Gatineau, Québec
K1A OH3

Subject : Consultations on Canada's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP's): Discussion document.

Dear Brenda,

I have prepared this letter in response to the above mentioned discussion document and to our exchange on this matter earlier this week. As I explained, I will be unable to attend the current series of consultation sessions arranged by Environment Canada on this subject, and I am therefore taking this opportunity to provide you in writing with some comments and suggestions regarding Canada's implementation plan for the Stockholm Convention on POP's.

For convenience in referring to this letter, I have listed my observations and recommendations in point form.

  1. The opportunity to comment on the proposed implementation strategy is welcome, and I would encourage Environment Canada to maintain a forum for regular and substantive consultation with stakeholders in the course of the implementation of Canada's strategy. I also encourage Environment Canada to ensure that aboriginal constituencies are adequately represented in this process, and that the Department consult aboriginal organizations and their constituencies to determine how best to accomplish this goal.
  2. One of the key pieces of legislation in Canada relevant to the national implementation plan is CEPA (1999). It is, of course, important to make use of this legislation in a way that is clear and transparent. This is a shared legislative responsibility of Environment Canada and Health Canada, and is important, in my view, that Health Canada be seen as clearly engaged in this matter.
  3. A tangible responsibility for Health Canada in this respect would be to ensure that there is an adequate mechanism for the identification of vulnerable populations and for tracking human exposure levels in an epidemiologically credible manner, i.e. so that trends within populations can be identified and distinguished with respect to age group and sex in relation to the population at large. Such mechanisms do not appear to be in place at this time.
  4. Here as elsewhere in this implementation plan, there is a need to co-ordinate actions with those proposed or initiated in the framework of the North American Agreement on Environmental Co-operation. I refer here specifically to the North American Regional Action Plans (NARAP's) dealing with dioxins, furans and hexachlorobenzene, with PCBs, and with the over-arching theme of Monitoring and Assessment. This comment is directed at both health and environmental issues. In some cases, it might be possible to use the CEC initiatives as a mechanism for directing or overseeing the implementation process.
  5. I believe that a particular problem for aboriginal communities, and probably more generally for relatively isolated rural communities in Canada, is the role of uncontrolled and at least partially open combustion as process, or collection of processes, responsible for the generation of certain classes of dioxins and furans, as well as certain co-planar PCBs and hexachlorobenzene (HCB). - and the corresponding problem of evaluating the toxicological significance for these populations of combustion-related generating of these compounds.
  6. The complex and diffuse problem of combustion-related production is not adequately reflected, in my opinion, in the National Pollution Release Inventory (NPRI), and further work - including supporting research - is needed to address the shortcomings of the existing inventory. This is a problem which has been recognized in the United States, and I believe that is being tackled there; it should receive corresponding attention here in Canada.
  7. Combustion-related production research, and the companion issue of the historical accumulation of dioxins and furans in soil organic matter and wetlands or peats, is the subject of a rapidly evolving research literature in the different countries affected by this issue. Environment Canada/Health Canada would do well to collaborate in ensuring (perhaps through a web site) that the individuals and agencies concerned by or with responsibilities for this issue have convenient access to relevant developments in the research literature (i.e. on such topics as congener distributions and their significance, analytical and quality control issues, combustion chemistry and factors which favour (or otherwise) the production of dioxins and furans; microbial degradation; and relevant toxicological developments). This comment could also be extended to the brominated and fluorinated compounds which are now the subject of increasing attention but which do not appear on the initial list of compounds in the Stockholm Convention.
  8. Forest fires, stubble burning in agriculture, and probably wood stoves together constitute a group of uncertain but geographically widespread sources of dioxin and furan production and mobilization. There is very little data available to support estimates of their role in D/F production (and therefore their incorporation into national inventories). This is an example of an area requiring further, collaborative research. Environment Canada could play an important role in the promotion and support of such research.
  9. Solid waste management in many remote communities on the Canadian Shield (and probably some other physiographic regions) often involves burning to reduce volume before burial in trenches. The practice is widespread (particularly in geographical settings where land suitable for waste burial is in short supply and where water tables are high), but poorly documented. There are probably well over a thousand small communities with populations ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand individuals which face this problem (both aboriginal and non-aboriginal). The avoidance of burning in itself can be the source of significant local environmental problems, and they also need to be taken into account.
  10. There is an evident need for data collection and the creation of a central repository for information on this subject. In the case of aboriginal communities, one might expect Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to be in a position to play a major role here, but this department does not appear at this time to collect and compile the data which is needed on this subject. The role of INAC should be explored further. The provinces and territories, and in particular the departments responsible for municipal affairs, have important roles to play in this area.
  11. As unconfined combustion starts to dominate the inventoried and reported sources of dioxins, furans and coplanar PCBs, (a situation which is already apparent in the U.S.A.) so it will become increasingly important to tackle the issue of documenting production from solid waste management practices. I would add here that simple across-the-board prohibition of municipal waste burning creates its own environmental problems and is not necessarily a realistic or useful approach to control. In addition, forest fires and stubble burning remain as diffuse and often unpredictable sources.
  12. The complex nature of this problem, as outlined above, leads me to add a caveat about reliance on the existing Canada Wide Standards (and equivalent actions in Québec). A number of the standards relevant to the Stockholm Convention were the subject of CWS developed some years ago, and on the basis of probably inadequate inventories. There are often severe sampling and analytical issues involved, even for clearly identifiable sources. The CWS process should kept open and adaptable to our evolving knowledge and understand of the subject matter. Over-reliance, for an extended period of time, on numerical standards based on incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information can become an implementation problem in its own right.

I hope that these suggestions will be of some use. I would be willing to provide additional clarification if that is considered appropriate.

Yours sincerely,

ALAN PENN
Science Advisor
Cree Regional Authority

cc: Grand Chief T. Moses
W. Iserhoff
V. Shantora (CEC)

 

Sandra Boswell, Prince Edward Island

March 12, 2004

Dear Brenda Koekkoek:

I attended the conference on "Consultations on National Implementation Plan Under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)", yesterday, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The following are added comments that I wish to make in regards to this file.

Programs currently in place to evaluate and assess POPs and Toxic Waste is inadequate and is in need of revision(s). Multi Stakeholders should be included in the consultations process and based on yesterdays meeting this was not the case.

If we are really serious about creating a document/draft and implementing a concrete plan for success in the area of POPs, we need to have the flexibility to add on to your current list. Basically twelve of these POPs are no longer used in Canada but there are many other pesticides, which are currently being used and have been banned in other countries around the world. Pesticide users most apply these products as a preventative measure, not because the necessarily need to apply them. This mindset needs to be changed so that toxic products are used on a need basis. Those who require quota should have to apply to chosen agency to obtain the products.

One example is Endosulfan. The US Department of Health and Human Services claim that male school children exposed to the pesticide Endosulfan showed delayed sexual maturity compared with similar children who were not exposed. (Study published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed journal of Environmental Health Perspectives. Endosulfan also appears to interfere with sex hormone synthesis, according to the study's results. Males between the age of 10 to 19 years in a community of cashew plantations in northern Kerala, India. Although this product Endosulfan is no longer manufactured in the United States, it is estimated that 1.4-2.2 million pounds are used in the United States on squash, pecans and strawberries. Endosulfan damages the male reproductive organs and hromones.

Endosulfan is also used on Prince Edward Island and other parts of Canada. This product needs to be added to the list of POPsbecause of its ability to alter genes and its noted health risk. We must be responsible to the people or else we should all work in a different place. It is up to us to ensure that Endosulfan and other pesticides which have a negative impact upon our genetic code, once it is mutated, it is changed forever and passed onto to offspring's. "Our study results suggest that Endosulfan exposure many delay sexual maturity and interfere with hormone Synthesis in male children. Endosulfan is banned in Cambodia, Colombia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Indonesia and other. The Canadian government is irresponsible if it too does not ban Endosulfan and other genetic altering pesticides like it.

In another study regarding Endosulfan, (National Institute of Occupational Health, led by Dr. Habibullah found when Endosulfan was sprayed by air for more than 20 years 117 boys in a village were effected. The results suggest also that Endosulfan exposure many delay sexual maturity and interfere with hormone synthesis in male children. Endosulfan is classed as an organochlorine, in the same family of pesticides as DDT and dieldrin, endosulfan and its' breakdown products are persistent in the environment with an estimated half-life of nine months to six years. It is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in US water, found in 38 states. Exposure to Endosulfan happens from eating contaminated food, may also occur from skin contact, breathing contaminated air or drinking contaminated water, according to the federal agency that evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Endosulfan is reported to affect the Central Nervous System and prevent it from working properly, hyperactivity, nausea, dizziness, headache or convulsions have been observed in adults exposed to Endosulfan.

ENDOSULFAN AND SIMILAR PESTICIDES SHOULD BE ON THE BANNED LIST OF PRODUCTS WE DO NO WANT IN OUR AIR, WATER OR AFFECTING HUMAN HEALTH IN OUR COUNTRY.

Dr. William J. Rea and his colleges state, "Recent literature confirms the harmful effects of chemical incitants, like formaldehyde, phenol, some pesticides, chlorine, petroleum, alcohol, glycine, DDT, Toluene and Turpentine along with drugs such as hydralazine have been found to induce advanced staged disease process.  also nickel, cobalt, chromium, aluminium, mercury, platinum and other common environmental chemical incitants, which include xylene, various acrylates, acrylated prepolymers, benzyl peroxide, carbon tetrachloride, sulfates, dithiocarbamates and diisocyanates are included in the list of chemicals that cause compromise human health and create disease.

I refer you to the Science Corner, Hazardous Waste Conference of 1993, "Hazardous Wastes and Public Health Approaches written by Devra Lee Davis, PhD., M.P.H., Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washing., D.C.; Linda Miller Poore, M.L.S., (Contractor) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxic Library, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washing, D.C. Their research, in part is as follows:

"the population of farm owners and operators in the United States now numbers about 2 million farmers, 3 million farm workers and 6 million farm family members. Because most farms use traditional, chemical-based, modern agricultural methods (as opposed to organic farming), this population is occupationally exposed to fuels, solvents, animal viruses, sunlight, and pesticides. In fact, farmers use a relatively small number of pesticides and changes in the particular chemicals used occur slowly over time. As we have shown elsewhere, with colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, (DL Davis et al. 1992b), farmers have some fascinating patters of cancer (Hoel et al. 1992). Results combined from 20 studies conducted on farmers in 8 different countries have revealed several common cancers associated with agricultural exposures, including multiple myeloma and childhood leukemia; lymphoma; and cancer of the connective tissue, stomach, prostate, lung, bladder, and brain. Overall mortality among farmers compared with the U.S. average indicates that farmers die less often from all causes. Indeed, their relative risk of dying from all heart disease and from all types of cancer is 60% to 90% that of the U.S. average. They claim that farmers die more frequently from certain types of cancer than do members of the general public. The tumours that farmers have in greater numbers have several interesting characteristics; they are not associated with tobacco (farmers smoke less and have less lung cancer), and several tumours are associated with immunodeficiency's or compromise in the immune system.

These research examples are only a few of the hundreds that I have in regards to the unhealthy characteristics of pesticide use for farmers and their neighbours.

This means that by allowing these types of pesticides (realizing PMRAis responsible for registrations and compliance of these products), the government is not taking care of its' people like they presupposed to. Every individual has the right to a health environment, IT IS THEIR RIGHT. Besides our health care system will not be able to cope in the very near (perhaps, less than five years) with the growing number of people who are being poisoned by toxic chemicals and toxic waste in our land fills so that we do not even have clean water to drink.

In terms of the conference, I feel that Environment Canada needs to include multistakeholders consultation meetings in regards to POPs. I support the Draft, "An NGO Submission to Consultation on Canada's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Demonstrating Canada's Commitment to the Reduction and Elimination of POPs, which was prepared by Canadian Environmental Law Association.

I also believe the word minimization should be replace by the word elimination of all toxic POPs.

In regards to Dioxins, I refer you to (15. Case study on Dioxins/Furans in Japan ) by Shingo Kimura, Office of Environmental Risk Assessment, Environment Agency of Japan. "The main routes of absorption of dioxins are the digestive tract, skin and lung. Regardless of the route, the rate of absorption differs depending on the animal species, vehicle, isomer of dioxin, other substances present in diet, dosage and animal age. In general, the rate of absorption decreases as the dose is increased and the number of chlorine atoms in the dioxin is increased.

Ingested dioxins enter the bloodstream and are distributed to all tissues of the body. Depending on the isomer of dioxin, the dioxins tend to accumulate, mainly in the liver and adipose tissues. Human and laboratory animals have different characteristics as to which of these tissues stores more dioxin. In humans, more is stored in adipose tissue, while in laboratory animals, excluding guinea-pigs, more is stored in the liver. Sewage from factories and herbicides (examples, Seveso and Italy) re sources.

Symptoms and conditions observed in animals and people exposed to 2, 3, 7, 8-TCDD include weight loss (wasting syndrome), atrophy of the thymus, obstructed hepatic metabolism, cardiac muscle damage, changes in metabolism of sexual hormones, thyroid hormones, and cholesterol and other fatty substances, dermal symptoms such as chloracne, and symptoms related to the Central Nervous System Damage, such as reduced ability to study. Carcinogenicity is associated with Dioxins/Furans as well as cell carcinomas, lung tumours, thyroid gland, reproductive effects Immunotoxicity and a host of other related health problems.

If you are unable to locate these research document, please let me know and I will fax them to you.

Another point is landfill sites with toxic chemicals, which include cement which causes problems with water contamination and ozone problems. We should eliminate our dependency on these type of cites, encourage industry/manufacturing to create more environmentally friendly products/packages, which can be easily recycled.

There is a lot more work needs to be done on this file. More discussions with all stakeholders is necessary, more public awareness on the part of Environment Canada to encourage changes.

Industry should have a facility, which can filter/prevent their releases from going into external air. They need to be made more aware. I don't think the government and industry realize how angry citizens are in regards to the pollution problems, not being looked at seriously or industry continuing to pollution, our water becoming unfit to drink in many locales (especially Halifax and Dartmouth, which I drank two mouthfuls and experience sore through and enema from).

I would be quite willing to work for free, if it would mean a serious effort to clean our environment for our children and grandchildren. We cannot take five years to decide these things, while I realize Rome wasn't made in one day, we do need to become more progressive in regards to the environment. Citizens are fed up with their children being sick constantly. Besides our Health System cannot sustain with so many health problems caused by a filthy environment.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit more of my views and research.

Best regards,

Sandra Boswell
Writer, Research Analyst
P. O. Box 1482
Charlottetown, P.E.I.
C1A 7N1
Telephone: 902-368-2730
Fax: 902-894-9299
E-mail: que@pei.eastlink.ca

 

World Wildlife Fund Canada

Cheryl Heathwood
Chief, Hazardous Air Pollutants
Environment Canada
Transboundary Air Issues
351 St. Joseph Blvd.
Gatineau, QC
K1A 0H3
cheryl.heathwood@ec.gc.ca

Subject: Support for NGO submission on Canada's NIP Process

Dear Cheryl Heathwood,

We would like to express our support for the comments contained in the document entitled An NGO Submission to Environment Canada's Consultation on Canada's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Demonstrating Canada's Commitment to the Reduction and Elimination of POPs, prepared by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, and dated March 10, 2004.

Sincerely,

Julia Langer
Director, International Programs
WWF-Canada

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